Background Image

News & Events


NASA Awards Computer Modeling Contract to Clarkson University and Jenike & Johanson

[A photograph for media use is available at

NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program has awarded a one-year, $100,000 contract to Clarkson University; DEM Solutions Inc., a leading software company; and Jenike & Johanson, a global engineering firm, to provide a new generation of Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) for designing equipment to move and store bulk solids. nasa

NASA has specialized needs in modeling of bulk solid systems, such as designing equipment to operate in lunar or Martian environments. The agency sees the ability to model bulk granular materials as essential to lowering the cost and time of future space exploration. However, the space agency isn't alone in its need for more efficient equipment to handle bulk solids; almost all industries handle bulk solids in their manufacturing facilities.

DEM is typically the computer-aided engineering (CAE) tool used for designing and analyzing bulk material flow. "However," says Hayley H. Shen, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Clarkson and the principal investigator for the project, "the current state-of-the-art in DEM has two major limitations, which must be overcome to ensure that the technique can be useful to NASA engineers and in the commercial sector."

Clarkson scientists and fellow researchers at Jenike & Johanson will look at two approaches to overcome the particle count limitations of DEM: investigate the scaling up of particle size; and combine finite element analysis (FEA) and DEM to look at problems of densely packed solids.

The Clarkson/Jenike & Johanson team will explore regimes where DEM and FEA are applicable and establish a coupling methodology that can be further developed during phase two of the NASA contract.

Jenike & Johanson ( is a specialized engineering firm whose primary focus is to provide a means for its global clients in virtually every industry to obtain reliable bulk solids flow. Its engineers strive to find the most economical, efficient and innovative ways to eliminate or reduce bulk solids flow problems in existing facilities, and to prevent such problems from occurring in new facilities. The firm provides a range of services, which includes consulting, testing, detail design, and equipment supply, all in the area of bulk solids flow technology. Jenike & Johanson's corporate headquarters are in Tyngsboro, Mass., with offices in California, Canada and Chile.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

Calendar View the full calendar >>

Full Calendar RSS Feed